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amBroadway: Cynthia Nixon directing ‘Cove,’ ‘Chicago’ casting contest and more

Amra Faye-Wright as Velma Kelly in the Broadway production of "Chicago." (Photo by Jeremy Daniel)

‘Bluefish Cove’ to receive Broadway premiere

Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi and Lily Tomlin have signed on as executive producers of an upcoming Broadway production of Jane Chambers’ 1980 lesbian romance “Last Summer at Bluefish Cove.” Tony-winning actress Cynthia Nixon will direct. It is no secret that plays about gay men (such as “The Boys in the Band,” “Torch Song Trilogy,” “Angels in America” and “The Inheritance”) have received much more attention over the years than plays about gay women.

‘Chicago’ announces winner of casting contest

“The Search for Roxie!,” a casting contest to find an unknown actress to play the merry murderess Roxie Hart in the long-running Broadway revival of “Chicago,” has been won by Emma Pittman, who will make her Broadway debut as Roxie later this year. Pittman was one of three finalists to participate in a Roxie “boot camp” and perform before a panel of judges that included Ann Reinking and Bebe Neuwirth, who originated the roles of Roxie and Velma in the “Chicago” revival. Pittman’s audition tape is available on YouTube.

‘Vacation’ musical set for out-of-town tryout

“Broadway Vacation, The Musical,” a new musical based on the Griswold family “Vacation” movie series with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo (i.e. “Vacation,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”), will receive its world premiere in the fall at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle prior to a planned Broadway run. It will have songs and book by David Rossmer and Steve Rosen (the team behind the recent Off-Broadway musical “The Other Josh Cohen”) and direction and choreography by Donna Feore (whose musical revivals at Ontario’s Stratford Festival have won acclaim).

SpongeBob SquarePants to play Lee Harvey Oswald

How does one go from beloved children’s cartoon character to notorious murderer? Ethan Slater, who originated the title role in “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical” (and recently reprised it for the musical’s telecast on Nickelodeon), will go on to portray Lee Harvey Oswald in Classic Stage Company’s springtime Off-Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s dark historical musical “Assassins.” The cast also includes Steven Pasquale as John Wilkes Booth, Will Swenson as Charles Guiteau, Tavi Gevinson as “Squeaky” Fromme and Judy Kuhn as Sara Jane Moore. 

Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ canceled due to loss of Polish funds

A new stage adaptation of Franz Kafka’s “The Trial” by Polish director Krystian Lupa will no longer play NYU Skirball in March due to the withdrawal of financial support from the Polish Cultural Ministry’s international exchange program. In reaction, Lupa said in a statement that “artists who do not sympathize with the current leadership’s cultural policy, who criticize its values, decisions and actions will be treated as enemies of Poland…” A free marathon reading of the original Kafka novel and a panel discussion with Mr. Lupa will be held at NYU Skirball on March 8.

Spotted…

Bette Midler at “American Utopia”…Elisabeth Moss at “Moulin Rouge!”…Sam Rockwell at “Oklahoma!”…Gaten Matarazzo at “Beetlejuice.”

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